We participated in this year’s SAP Enterprise Architecture (EA) Summit in Berlin. Since we are dedicating a lot of our energy on the question of how EA can be used to achieve business value it was an interesting event for us. Being back in Bonn now, we want to share some of our thoughts with you.
First of all, the event clearly proved that businesses still have problems to figure out how to benefit from EA. Analysts presented a survey that focused on the opinions of CIOs on their Enterprise Architecture: Only 23 % are satisfied. Still a long road to go.
SAPs Summit showed some successful examples of how to implement EA as well. More and more IT leaders realize that the important questions are: How can we directly benefit from EA? How will EA bring value? In the last years the focus was lying more on questions of organization and structure, rather than connecting EA with business goals.
SAP proved highly successful fulfilling the demands of EA clients. It is no coincidence that SAP has won the renowned iCMG Enterprise Architecture Award this summer.
The important idea behind SAPs success is that their focus lays especially on communication. Enterprise Architects are not developing their structures apart from the business but try to interact and explain their results to business leaders. Managers regularly receive a report of 10 pages written in a language they can understand. Here we can see that people realize that EA has to be part of the business and is not only a game for highly specialized experts.
The second important finding was that the implementation of EA has to be quick. EA has to deliver results. There is no point of collecting tons of information if you never reach the point of actually using it. Within four weeks you should have an overview of the processes of your business. Pragmatic approaches proved to be successful by only taking to account information that are directly relevant to generate value.
All in all it gets clear that the demands on enterprise architects are increasing and almost impossible to fulfill: He has to have detailed knowledge of the IT structure, he has to be an expert of the business operations and at the same time he has to know how to communicate and implement his ideas. All alone no one can fulfills such demands. It is clear that we need to work on communication and create communities that exchange knowledge.
For more detailed information on how to use EA, please also see our article on EA frameworks.